Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy is unlikely to rest stars Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk even if the Storm seal a top-two NRL finish with a win this weekend over Manly.The ladder-leading Storm sit five points ahead of third-placed Canberra and can secure a crucial home final in week one of the playoffs with victory over the Sea Eagles at Brookvale Oval on Saturday night in round 24.However, Bellamy said on Wednesday he feared his sides continuity and momentum could be affected if representative stars Smith and Cronk took a rest over the final fortnight of the regular season.They are getting through it all pretty well at the moment, Bellamy said at Storm training at Sydneys Coogee Oval.They are feeling well and they are playing well and we feel we need those boys playing because we need a bit of practice with our attack.We havent scored a whole heap of points the last three or four weeks and we think that needs sharpening up a bit.It is hard to sharpen that up in match conditions if you havent got your halfback and dummy-half there.Bellamy said the Storm had learned from their ill-fated 2011 campaign, after they rested Smith, Cronk and Billy Slater for their final game of the season against Sydney Roosters, having already wrapped up a top-two finish.The Storm were belted 40-8 by the 11th-placed Roosters in that game, a result that Bellamy said hurt them coming into the finals.Under the old finals system, minor premiers the Storm struggled to beat eight-placed Newcastle at AAMI Park in the first week of the finals in 2011 and were then sensationally dumped out of the premiership race at home two weeks later, losing to the Warriors 20-12 in the preliminary final.Just two weeks before, the Warriors had been thumped 40-10 by Brisbane.A win (over Manly) gives us that option (of resting players), Bellamy said.But I know that in 2011, we rested our Big Three then in the last game of the year and, looking back, I reckon it affected our momentum going into those finals and we were not quite what we expected to be in the finals.You can look at it both ways. At their age, they (Smith and Cronk) are getting a bit old so they need a bit more rest but, the older you get, the more your body adapts.Melbourne have spent the week in Sydney after losing to the Raiders on Monday in Canberra.Both Smith and Cronk are on limited training duties this week. Tim Krul Jersey
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. The parade and rally were held to celebrate the Saskatchewan Roughriders 45-23 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Sunday in the CFLs championship game. CLEMSON, S.C. -- Donte Grantham knows too well Clemsons bad reputation for early season stumbles. Hes glad he and his teammates are getting the chance to quash that with their strong play.The Tigers (6-2) did it again Saturday, blowing past Mercer 90-47 to win their fourth straight and second in a row by 40 points or more.Grantham scored 19 points off four 3-pointers.We just wanted to come out here and make a statement that were a good team, said Grantham, the 6-foot-8 junior. We believe that, but we have to showcase that.It was fully on display against the Bears (5-5), who have lost four of five since opening 4-1.Grantham had two 3-pointers and a 3-point play as the Tigers led 18-11. He closed the first half with a 3 that put Clemson ahead 49-25 and Mercer could not dent the lead.The Bears settled for too many outside shots -- 14 of 23 first-half attempts were from behind the arc -- instead of going strong against Clemsons defense, Mercer coach Bob Hoffman said.You cant win that way and thats not how were going to win, he said.Jaron Blossomgame had 16 points as the Tigers had five players finish in double figures. Grantham also added six rebounds, two assists and block and a steal.Its the first time Clemson has won consecutive games by at least 40 points since the start of the 2009-10 season when it beat Presbyterian by 43 points and Liberty by 40 next time out.Rian Holland had 12 points to lead the Bears, who have lost four of their past five games after opening 4-1.BIG PICTUREMercer: The Bears saw their run of ACC wins end at three, losing to an ACC opponent for the first time since an 87-78 defeat to Georgia Tech in the 2010-11 season. Mercer made a huge splash in their previous ACC matchup, topping third-seeded Duke in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. Then again, no members of that team remain with the progrram.dddddddddddd Holland, the Bears top scorer, is in his first season at Mercer after two seasons at Wichita State and a year at Indian Hills Community College.Clemson: The Tigers took care of another typically troublesome early season opponent in fast fashion, a strong sign for what they might achieve. Clemson hasnt been to the NCAA Tournament since coach Brad Brownells first season in 2010-11, a huge reason because of pre-ACC season losses. The Tigers won 10 ACC games last season, yet only seven against nonleague opponents as they missed the postseason.We needed to play well during this time and we have so far, Brownell said.HEISMAN WATCHClemson quarterback Deshaun Watsons try for the Heisman Trophy later Saturday came up several times during the basketball game. Watsons image flashed on the big scoreboard screen several times and Grantham said hed be watching and rooting for his fellow Tiger.He should get it if theyre giving it to winners, Clemson coach Brad Brownell said.BAD BEARSMercer struggled driving the ball against Clemson, ending with just seven foul shots. The Bears committed 18 turnovers and were called for 25 fouls.ROSTER HELPClemson is getting closer to adding Texas A&M transfer, 6-foot-9 Elijah Thomas, to the lineup. Brownell said Thomas, who sat out since last winter, would be eligible to play for the Tigers at Alabama on Dec. 18. Hell be a boost to a front line with only 6-10 starter Sidy Djitte and backup, 7-footer Legend Robertin available.UP NEXTMercer: Gets a week off before playing at Auburn on Dec. 18.Clemson: Will face South Carolina State on Tuesday night.---More AP college basketball at http://collegebasketball.ap.org
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